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Country Assistance Strategy (CAS)

Country Assistance Strategy (CAS)

Background

The Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) is the most important World Bank country document. It is tailored to the needs and circumstances of each country and lays down the World Bank Group's development priorities, as well as the level and type of assistance the Bank will provide for a period of three years.

The CAS preparation is a participatory process. Before its adoption, key elements of the strategy are discussed with government representatives; and to ensure the widest possible involvement, public dialogues are also held, with Internet-based discussions taking place in many countries.

However, the CAS is not a negotiated document. Any differences between the country's own agenda and the Bank's strategy are highlighted in the CAS document. A progress report is issued in the intervening year.

Status of the CAS for the Republic of Congo

The World Bank supports the Republic of Congo through a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) which was approved in May 2009. The CPS is based on a full Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which was approved by the Congolese Government in April 2008. This CPS was designed in close coordination with all stakeholders, including the IFC, and provides a framework for Bank support for FY 2010-12.

At the time of the CPS’ formulation, the key driving forces behind its thrust included: (i) Congo’s excessive dependence on highly volatile oil revenues to fund its budget, the risks of which had been amply demonstrated during the then raging global financial crisis during which worldwide demand for oil had contracted sharply leading to a steep decline in oil prices; (ii) social indicators that were significantly lower than those of comparator countries at similar per capita income levels, and Congo’s low likelihood of attaining the millennium development goals; (iii) high and growing unemployment, especially among the youth; and (iv) a huge infrastructure gap, especially in transportation, energy and telecommunications. On the other hand, the CPS also recognized Congo’s immense potential, especially in: (i) providing regional transit services thanks to its deep sea port at Pointe-Noire; (ii) significantly increase agricultural production given its vast arable land and suitable climate; and (iii) adding value to its forestry and mineral resources through their judicious management, among other things.

The Strategy further recognized the new role of the Bank in Congo not as one of a “financier” but rather as that of a “catalyst” for change, with the Bank using its small allocation for Congo to help the country use its significant oil revenues for economic reform and poverty alleviation, in close coordination with other partners. The CPS’ primary objective is to make a critical contribution to promoting diversified and inclusive economic growth in addition to improving social outcomes. To ensure effective implementation in both priority areas, the CPS also supports governance and institutional capacity building as a cross-cutting theme. These themes are fully consistent with Congo’s PRSP priorities, especially those in pillars 1 (improving governance), 2 (promoting growth and macroeconomic stability) and 3 (enhancing access to basic social services).




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